A policy will be put in place to give a boost to agroforestry in Bihar which would raise the income of farmers and reduce ecological imbalances causing floods and droughts, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said today. "Lack of adequate forest cover is a big challenge for Bihar which comprises only 3.6 per cent of the country's total area but is inhabited by 8.6 per cent of its population. Ideally, plains must have 20 per cent forest cover but here until recently it was less than 10 per cent", Kumar said after inaugurating "Krishi Vaniki Samagam" (agroforestry symposium). "We began working on this problem by launching a Hariyali Mission as part of which trees were planted on roadsides and in the vicinity of dams, public places and goverrnment buildings. We are close to achieving a 15 per cent green cover. In the new agriculture road map for the period 2017-22, we have aimed at achieving 17 per cent", he said. "We are encouraging farmers to take up agroforestry in a big way.
It will help them increase their own incomes besides reducing ecological imbalances which cause natural calamities like floods and droughts - both of which plague Bihar frequently", Kumar said. "This symposium, wherein farmers from across the state are taking part, will serve as a forum where cultivators can share the problems they face in practicing agroforestry. Based on these inputs, we will frame an agroforestry policy", the Chief Minister said. Kumar also cautioned against "tinkering with nature" and pointed towards "disruption of natural flow of rivers like Ganges and Sone". "It is our duty to conserve our environment and hand over this legacy to future generations", he added. Speaking at the same symposium, Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said "agroforestry policy will be framed after a careful study of the practices in various states". "In the second agriculture roadmap (2012-17), plantation of six crore saplings was envisaged but our farmers worked with enthusiasm and exceeded the target by more than 10,000. The target for the third roadmap is 5.30 crore which would include 1.5 crore poplar plants", Sushil said. "Cultivation of bamboo, which is proving to be green gold for farmers, will also be promoted in the state. At a tissue culture lab in Bhagalpur, 1.5 lakh bamboo plants have been developed. A similar lab will be set up in Supaul", the Deputy CM said. "A move is also afoot for e-forest markets which would help farmers in selling wood. Wood production in the state is likely to be around 27 lakh cusec in 2018-19 and rise to 1.78 crore cusec the following year and five crore cusec a year later", he added.
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